Trans woman sues Chick-fil-A for sexual harassment and discrimination

American fast food restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A

A trans woman is suing Chick-fil-A, claiming she was discriminated against and sexually harassed by her colleagues while working at the fast food chain.

According to NBC News, 29-year-old Erin Taylor filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for Northern Georgia at the end of June, alleging that her employment was wrongfully terminated.

Beginning in August 2021, Taylor worked at a Chick-fil-A in Decatur, Georgia, for four months, and said that the harassment began on her very first day.

“I was excited, and unfortunately that excitement changed quickly, starting with my first day,” she told NBC, explaining that a colleague made “very vulgar comments” and “sexual passes” at her.

Taylor, who transitioned around three years ago, said that when her co-workers found out that she was a trans woman, things got even worse.

Since the 2020 Supreme Court ruling Bostock v Clayton County, employers across the US are prohibited from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

But in her lawsuit, Taylor said that when she reported her co-worker’s alleged sexual harassment, she was told by franchise owner Joe Engert that because she was trans, it “should be an honour… that someone liked her enough to hit on her”.

Taylor’s lawsuit alleges that when her colleagues at the restaurant found out that she was transgender, they began to deliberately misgender her, and the employees who had made sexual advances began to target her with transphobic threats.

She was fired in November 2021, and told NBC that the reason given was that she walked out while working. However, Taylor claims she was given permission to leave because she was being harassed by a superior.

According to her lawsuit, Taylor has also filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.

Taylor said she was unaware of Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBTQ+ history when she took the job, but insisted: “I would expect that company, and individuals working for that company, to uphold themselves in a professional manner. That didn’t happen.”

Chick-fil-A has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBTQ+ organisations over the years, but facing increasing backlash, in 2019 it announced it would end these donations. Days later, the company backtracked.

Last year, Daily Beast revealed through tax filings and “accidental public disclosures” that billionaire Chick-fil-A owner Dan Cathy was still funding anti-LGBTQ+ causes, and was in fact part of one of “the most sophisticated dark money operations” ever.